Following the recent toll rate hikes, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) confirmed that the KTM Komuter fares in Klang Valley will rise by 36% from 2nd December (Wednesday) onwards.
KTMB president Sarbini Tijan revealed that commuters who use the Tanjung Malim-Sungai Gadut and Batu Caves-Port Klang routes are expected to pay 15 sen per kilometre (km) as the fare would experience a 4 sen increase.
The highest fare would be RM7.10 for a single trip.
During a press conferecne today at KL Sentral, Tijan told reporters that the hike in rail fares was their “last resort in the firm’s bid to stem its losses” without overly burden its customers.
He said that commuters who rely on the rail services would only need to pay 75% of the total cost. KTMB will subsidise the remaining 25% either through government aid, or failing which the company will pay the amount.
According to our cost, each kilometre costs 20 sen but now what is approved by the government is only an increase to 15 sen; now the fare is 11 sen so only 4 sen increase.
Sarbini further revealed that KTMB has been “operating on a loss” over the last 5 years. “Government subsidy they’re only giving us our cost. Now with GST buying our equipment, we need to pay GST and vendors also want to make a profit,” he added.
This is KTMB’s first fare hike in 12 years as the KTM Komuter fares were last revised in February 2003. The fares were to have been increased in May, but was put off due to the public outcry. Sarbini said that a hike was sorely needed to cover the increasing operational costs caused by the running upgraded facilities.
It was reported that the depreciating ringgit also affected KTMB as the company must purchase all their spare parts from China in US dollars. The ringgit is currently trading around 4.30 to the US dollar, down from the 3.20 level just a year ago.
“If we buy overseas, we buy the spare parts using US dollars so our ringgit to US dollar is about 30% difference… But I hope that it is temporary,” Sarbini said.
Sarbini noted that hike will only affect commuters in the Klang Valley as his company is prevented from increasing the fares in its southern and northern sectors due to “geopolitical and lifestyle factors”.
It is the government’s initiative to encourage people living outside Kuala Lumpur to use public services, particularly to travel from the suburban areas to work in the city centre.
Primary and secondary school students as well as undergraduates will soon be able to enjoy half-price tickets, sharing the same privilege as senior citizens, disabled persons, and children between the ages of 2 and 6.
What do you think of the increase in rail fares? Will you be badly hit by it? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.